Craft beer trends: Sour, less boozy, collaborations
Beer lovers are far from souring on craft beer, but many brewers are turning to sour beers and other new twists to keep the growing beer category fresh. In addition to beers that may cause lips to pucker, there’s an inpouring of hoppy but lower-alcohol session brews and luxuriant, wildly inventive beers borne out of collaborations between brewers. Such experimentation is “pushing the envelope of what beer can be and finding new flavors,” says Greg Engert, beer director of Bluejacket brewery and restaurant in Washington, D.C. As overall U.S. beer consumption has declined slightly in recent years, craft beer is on the rise. Consumers spent an estimated $14.3 billion on craft beer in 2013, according to the Brewers Association, up 20% from the $11.9 billion spent in 2012.
One of the benefits of this kind of tour is that you get to meet the people behind the various bars and breweries, and to hear them tell the story behind the company and explain how they think. At Boelens we got more of this, since we were met by the founder and brewer, Kris Boelen himself. (This is part 2 of the Scandinavian beer bloggers’ tour.)
City illustrations highlight the world’s best breweries
All homes to famous breweries, Dublin, Sao Paulo, Bangkok and more are illustrated in gorgeous colour. If the likes of our Designer’s Guide to London are anything to go by, it’s safe to say that cities are packed full of inspiration. Here, illustrator Sam Brewster has found something in common with every one of his city illustrations – they are all home to an influential brewery.
How hot is too hot?
A few weeks ago, our tasting panel capped off a night of blind judging by sampling some of the hottest chili beers around. The experience was intense, and got me wondering about the audience that goes in for scorching hot beers. The three beers we popped open were Stone’s Crime and Punishment and Twisted Pine’s Ghost Face Killah. All of the judges—and myself—enjoy spicy foods (one of the judges even grows hot chilies in his backyard), but these beers were beyond our threshold. To put it into perspective, here’s what goes into making the beers:
America’s Changing Tastes Are Killing the ‘Old Man Beer’ Market
Just a few weeks ago we told you that the staggering growth of the craft beer market here in the US has forced the Brewer’s Association, the Colorado-based not-for-profit trade association that represents the majority of U.S. breweries — craft and otherwise — to relocate to larger headquarters. But now it’s looking like thirsty Americans’ growing tastes for more full-flavored libations are taking a huge bite out of the “Old Man Beer” market. USA Today reports that this major seismic shift is being felt by real sales numbers. Data provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights shows a 2.3 percent decrease, across the board, in beer consumption. That’s nearly 4.8 million barrels.